Given the advancement of B2B e-commerce and innovative sales and marketing technology, sales people no longer control a B2B buyer’s entire journey. Now, B2B buyers conduct a majority of their research online and often are close to a decision before ever even contacting a sales representative.
From healthcare to construction to manufacturing, B2B salespeople often don’t have the luxury of product differentiation. Rather, what differentiates one business from the next is the buying experience. That means salespeople must inject personalization into the process. Instead of simply facilitating transactions, today’s salespeople must provide prospects with a truly relevant experience to keep them engaged at all stages of the funnel.
The New Age of B2B Selling
It goes without saying that Amazon has changed the way people shop. What was once a luxury e-commerce experience is now an everyday retail expectation. Consumers need engaging content, personalized offerings and quick response times.
Our experiences and expectations as consumers are changing our behavior as B2B buyers, disrupting the traditional B2B sales process. Buyers can do a lot of their research and purchasing online — without interacting with a human at all. And this ease of access to information has changed the way they expect to be treated by salespeople. They expect to find the information they need when they want it, whether or not they’re talking with a salesperson.
This trend, along with the requirement to differentiate the buyer experience means that an engaging and informative buying experience can be a hotter commodity than the product, and can ultimately impact how B2B buyers choose who they do businesses with.
Why Personalization Matters
Sales people no longer are the sole source of information for a buyer, nor are they the only channel through which buyers can make an actual purchase. Now, salespeople need to be advisors who explain to buyers why their company’s business and products bring added value those buyers can’t get from competitors.
In taking this approach, sales teams can connect with buyers on a more personal level rather than just acting as the conveyor of information, which in turn makes them invaluable. A buyer can search for products online, but he or she cannot receive personalized advice without speaking to a sales representative who truly understands the lay of the land.
The Role of Technology
To make this transition towards more of a personalized guide to help B2B buyers reach a final decision, sales teams are turning to automation, CRM integrations, self-service offerings and even artificial intelligence for assistance. The advancement of innovative sales tools gives sales representatives an opportunity to further engage customers and truly sell the value proposition of the product. Proactive content recommendations, for example, can help eliminate the guesswork from client interactions and have more relevant conversations with prospects as a result.
Because human connection plays such a vital role in sales, technology will never replace the salesperson altogether. If sales teams respond to changing expectations quickly and view the digital transformation as an opportunity rather than a threat, they can use it to their advantage.
Sales is no longer about selling a product — it’s about selling an experience, and personalized interactions are necessary in closing the deal. Today’s salesperson adjust their mentalities or risk losing out to competitors.
Want more great sales enablement insight? Check out our guide, “What is sales enablement?“